FREDERICTON (GNB) – New legislation introduced today is intended to increase consumer rights and improve fair business practices in the province.
“Our government is committed to a fair and responsible environment in which businesses can operate, and consumers can feel their rights are being respected,” said Finance and Treasury Board Minister Ernie Steeves. “With the new Consumer Protection Act, we will be better aligned with our counterparts across the country and be able to offer modernized legislation to ensure greater accountability.”
The legislation will be administered by the Financial and Consumer Services Commission.
“New Brunswickers should feel confident that the consumer market in which they interact is fair, accessible, efficient, sustainable and responsible,” said Kevin Hoyt, the commission’s CEO. “In many cases, this act will provide consumers with new rights in the event that they feel they have been wronged in a business transaction.”
If passed, the act would provide a legal framework for most day-to-day consumer transactions, ensuring consumers have:
- The right to be safe from unfair business practices, such as making a false claim, or doing or saying anything deceptive or misleading to a consumer.
- The right to be properly informed about products and transactions. The seller and buyer must have a clear idea of what is being bought or sold, who they are dealing with, their cancellation rights and access to the same accurate information.
- The right to seek remediation when transactions do not turn out as reasonably expected or when businesses do not comply with the act.
The new act would cover 12 regulatory areas — six of which are existing areas overseen by the commission – and six new regulatory areas. The new regulatory areas include unfair practices, internet sales contracts, future performance contracts, high-cost credit, unsolicited goods or services, and personal development services contracts.
While most businesses would be affected by this new legislation, Hoyt said the cost of complying would have little to no cost. He said the act would also benefit businesses by ensuring those operating to high business standards and complying with legal rules are not disadvantaged by those that do not.
“The act will provide a more level playing field for New Brunswick businesses and deter the unscrupulous ones from setting up shop or doing business in the province,” said Hoyt.
Rules and regulations related to the new legislation are being developed. Stakeholders will be invited to provide feedback once they have been finalized.
Morgan Bell, communications, Department of Finance and Treasury Board, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial and Consumer Services Commission, 1-866-933-2222, email@example.com.